Josh Warrington’s career at world level looks on the line when he meets former conqueror Mauricio Lara in an immediate rematch at the Emerald Headingley Stadium in Leeds tomorrow.
In February, a rusty-looking Warrington saw a ticking over clash against a Mexican unknown turn into a nightmare as he was manhandled and stopped in nine relatively one-sided rounds.
Previously undefeated, the former IBF 126lbs champion looked a shadow of his old self with Lara’s blows rippling through him like electric shocks. Lara looked a world class Mexican on that showing yet appearances can sometimes be misleading.
Was the result a case of an ill-prepared fighter, coming off a 16-month layoff, falling short against an underestimated foe or perhaps the first sign of a deeper decline? No-one is entirely sure, but Saturday will reveal all.
So, will history repeat itself or can Warrington find redemption and breathe fresh life into his career? Boxing Social’s intrepid band of writers and fortune tellers attempt to predict the outcome.
Despite many calling for ‘repeat’, I’ll go out on a limb and say Josh Warrington plays it safe, edging a close decision victory this weekend. Often, the travelling unknown quantity takes the home fighter by surprise, and, if Lara is the real deal, then he’ll smoke Warrington again. There’s just enough doubt for me to back the Leeds’ man, though. He managed to escape with victories when mistaking himself as a banger until he crossed paths with the enormous underdog. This time, he’ll be far more careful. Warrington by UD or MD. – Craig Scott.
Warrington will hope that his rabid home support and his own memory of how completely destroyed he was by an unheralded opponent last time around will be the the factors that swing the fight his way. Was he complacent and unmotivated last time around? Probably. If the Leeds man can stay away from Lara’s bombs then perhaps he can edge a decision, especially as the Mexican’s stamina looked questionable at times in the first fight. However, a far more plausible scenario is that Lara – so dominant last time – administers another beating that leads to Warrington being soundly beaten on points or mercifully rescued by his corner or the referee – both of whom let the last fight go on too long – sometime after round eight. – Luke G. Williams.
I’ll take Warrington by split decision. This isn’t a jingoistic pick as I believe most watching will be of the opinion that Lara did enough. Sadly, the UK has become one of the worst places in the world for a travelling fighter to get a fair shake. Historically, British fight fans used to call out questionable officiating in countries such as Germany and Italy. Now, the problem is closer to home. Josh Warrington has twice received the benefit of the doubt on the scorecards in close contests; against Kiko Martinez and Kid Galahad. I expect the Leeds fighter to attempt to employ similar tactics to the ones he used against Martinez. If he’s on his feet at the end of the 12th, he’ll get the nod. The fans in attendance will love the result, those watching at home will not. – John A. MacDonald.
Usually, the stoppage winner in a first fight prevails in the rematch. But it’s hard to tell if Warrington’s crushing, February defeat to Lara was down to a long stretch of inactivity and complacency, or the emergence of a new Mexican monster on the featherweight scene. Lara has to win by KO in the return. The chances of him clinching a decision in Leeds appear slim at best, with any close round scored in the home favourite’s favour. With his career at stake, Warrington will look to box more conservatively against a heavy-handed foe and, roared on by the Leeds crowd, he can win a decision. – Mark Butcher.
Main image: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.